Holy Houses, more commonly simply called Houses, are the god's family. This includes partners, children, siblings, and extended family. It also refers to the mansions and buildings the god's family inhabits.
Only god's have Holy Houses. A spirit might have their own large family and extended connections, similar to those found in the Houses, but such groups are called 'Family Lines' or lineages. Houses may contain a variety of lineages within themselves.
Which House a spirit resides in informs storytelling in the Otherfaith and has smaller impacts on liturgy.
Naming for the Houses focuses on alliteration, each name beginning with 'H'. Each House is named for some attribute or association of its god. Currently all Houses except for the Ophelene's are named.
Spirits in the Otherfaith are most commonly offered membership into a House after gaining the attention of a god. In rarer cases spirits will be born into a Household. Some spirits, especially those with many connections to various gods, may end up having possible membership in many of the Houses.
Membership confers a number of benefits upon the spirits within a household. Protection, provided by both the god and other spirits in the House, is one of the biggest benefits. Being part of a household also integrates spirits more fully into the West, and it is common for 'outside' spirits to be adopted or married into Houses to help them build more connections. Being a resident is also luxurious, more so than being a solitary spirit is. House members are often treated as nobility or celebrity in the West.
Spirits may be eligible for House membership in multiple Houses. They may formally reside in only one House at a time. A spirit may also leave and join a different House. It is rare for a spirit to formally leave a House and then be welcomed back in. A spirit who rudely refuses residency when first offered may not be allowed to claim it later on.
Membership is formalized by a ceremony overseen by the Head of House.
Head of House
Each Holy House has a Head of House. The Head is usually a spirit appointed by the god to oversee matters within the House, including residency. The Head may refuse a spirit who has possible residency, often at the behest of other spirits within the House. The Head also manages any Household fighting and drama along with bookkeeping and management of the mansions and properties of the House.
In some cases the god of the House is also the Head. the Laetha Asier, for example, is the Head of House Hark.
Within and across Houses there are family lines. These are established, intentionally or not, by powerful spirits who end up gifting their children or family with certain abilities or traits.
The Line of Adilene
The line of Adilene (also called Adelaide) is a combination of Claeric and Laethic energies. Originating from Adilene, the line includes Althea Altair as well as Alynah Blake and her many offspring. The line is noted for their white, pink, and red coloring and flower motifs. They are considered challengers or aggressors to the Laetha. The line also includes unicorn imagery and symbolism.
The line is called either The Line of Adilene or The Bane of the Laetha.
Fio Sier Othan
Originating from Othani and Aletheia 009. The line is a variation on Laethic energies, bearing some resemblance to the Adilene line. The line bears bright white or deep green coloring. Descendants are either half-fauna (usually deer) or half-flora.
Verzsou Red is one half of the family line of the Verzsou Triad. Originating from Aster Aira and Casimir, the line takes after Aster's fire spirit with red coloring and fire abilities. Most descendants of Verzsou Red join Red Court. A limited number of Verzsou Red follow in Casimir's steps and become assistant and guardian spirits.
Verzsou White is the other half of the family line of the Verzsou Triad. Originating from Neve Winter and Casimir, the line favors white and silver coloring and utilizes snow-based magic. Most Verzsou White spirits remain in North-South rather than joining the wider West. Verzsou White spirits will serve in the Ophelia's Blue Court if they join a Court at all.
Relation to Courts
Houses and Courts in the Otherfaith are not synonymous. Spirits may be employed by a Court but take residency in another god's House. So it goes for humans - someone may take initiated devotion to one god but be adopted and given residency in another god's House.
Some spirits may be in one Court and later on shun residency in that same god's House. Adilene is a notable example of this, refusing to take residency in House Hark after a confrontation with the Firebird.